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NEWS & COMMENTARY 2008 SPEAKERS 2007 2006 2005

Friday, June 30, 2006

China’s Hu Calls for Buildup of Strategic Missile Forces


Chinese President Hu Jintao has pledged to step up scientific and technological reforms in the military, as he marked the 40th anniversary of the nation’s nuclear force, state media said June 29.

”To establish a strategic missile armed force and build up the Second Artillery Corps is a major strategic decision of the Communist Party Central Committee and the Central Military Commission,” state television quoted Hu as saying.

He was speaking on the 40th anniversary of the Second Artillery Corps, the nation’s strategic nuclear missile force, which falls on July 1, a date that also marks the 85th anniversary of the ruling party.

Television footage showed Hu with the members of the powerful military commission on June 28 greeting officers of the corps that has also played a key role in the development of the nation’s rocketry.

”The army should bring into full play the role of science and technology and carry out reforms and innovations, so as to set up a scientific system for military training under the new circumstances,” Hu said.

Hu was referring to China’s efforts to build a high-tech fighting force, based on the precision bombing and information warfare used by the United States in its wars on Iraq.

The U.S. has taken China’s military modernization seriously with a report by the Pentagon last month saying that Beijing was building up missile forces on its southeastern coast facing Taiwan.

The region appeared to be the near-term focus of China’s build up, it said.

It also said China was spending two to three times more on its military than the $35 billion a year it has acknowledged and that such spending could result in a potential threat to the United States over the longer term.

Despite a booming trade with Taiwan, China views the island as a renegade province awaiting reunification, by force if necessary.
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